CAPT David Bacon Video (Text Version)
Title: Improving Medical Care for Service Members and Their Families
Investigator: CAPT David Bacon, PhD; Military Infectious Diseases Research Program, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
The Peer Review Medical has a Joint Programmatic Review Panel, which is made up of 15 or 16 permanent members from each of the Joint Program Committees. They are Service representatives, to include the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Army. We have Health Affairs folks here. The VA is here. NIH has a member here. Public Health is also here—brings a lot of expertise from the FDA regulatory side of the house. Then we bring in ad-hoc researchers who are subject matter experts in their area. So a very broad group…
I’m here, while a Navy officer, I’m representing Joint Program Committee 2, which is the Infectious Disease Program. We deal with anything and all things infectious diseases—vaccines, prophylaxis, treatments.
Military Operational Medicine is here as well. They do some nutritional science; they do tinnitus; some on the post-traumatic stress disorder; they do some TBI work. And then there’s Clinical Rehabilitative Medicine, which is in the prosthetics, bone healing, muscle regeneration. And then, of course, Combat Casualty Care, JPC6, which is more on blood products, blood hemorrhage control; any type of vascular work would fall under that as well. So I think, all totaled, there’s 48 different topics that are part of the Peer Review Medical; 10 or 12 are infectious diseases, and then the rest are kind of spread across the other Joint Program Committees. And some have direct link to the JPCs, where other ones are more broadly applicable to the general population. And our trust, or what we’re trusted to do, is to support medical R&D programs that support the Warfighter; support the, not only the active duty, but retirees, and beneficiaries, in all aspects of their medical care.
Requirements are generated by the line. Now if there’s a need, the line is the one that’s going to run into it first, the line being the guys downrange. Whether it’s medical or tanks or bullets or bombs or something, they’re going to be the first one to recognize that there’s a gap in whatever technology they have currently at-hand.
But the monies that we’re appropriated from MRMC, from the Navy, from the Defense Health Agency is relatively small. We can't do everything with that pot of money because, if you try to do everything, you’re going to do nothing. So we are able to utilize Peer Reviewed Medical to fund programs that are part of our portfolio that we may not have enough monies to fund. If it’s a good project and the science is sound, we can champion them within our committees here and be able to fund these projects that are part of our overall overarching portfolio.
There’s been some great developments in malaria vaccine development, for instance, using whole cell parasites that the Navy has actually been working alongside a company since it began inception probably 4, 5, 6 years ago.
It’s not only going to protect our troops, but it’s going to be able to be readily available, hopefully, for endemic regions of the world. So every day, thousands of children die from malaria, and if we can prevent that with this vaccine that we’re—we’ve funded, in part with the Department of Defense dollars, that’s—that’s a huge, huge win for us.
It’s a feel-good—real feel-good—story for us—to know that we’ve been able to take our projects, our—our funds, our efforts to save lives worldwide. So that goes way beyond active duty, retirees, and beneficiaries. It goes to the world, what we do. So, to kind of tie that all together, being able to save thousands of children a day in Africa for work that we’re doing here in Maryland and Virginia is—is pretty exciting.
It is a tremendous amount of work. All us committee members spend about 3 months a year doing nothing but Peer Reviewed Medical. It’s very, very long days, long nights, weekends, but it is a great feeling to know that you’re part of a—a bigger process where you can actually make a huge difference based on your comments and you know, thumbs up, thumbs down, whether or not you’re going to support a proposal going forward.
You know, it’s science; it’s science. It takes time, but hopefully, you hit all the wickets, you get all the approvals, and your study works. But science doesn’t always work. Even negative results are still results. It’s not what everybody likes to hear, but you know, it’s a hypothesis for a reason; and a negative result is still a result.
So it’s a great feeling, knowing you can sleep better at night. You can go home and see the wife and kids and know that you—you worked hard, and you did the right thing.
Last updated Tuesday, January 4, 2022